augusta free press news

Bill Roth assesses impact of COVID-19 sports shutdown

virginia tech sportsAmong the things we’ve learned the past few weeks: “I think we’ve learned how important sports are to our culture,” said Bill Roth, the Voice of the Hokies for 27 years, who now heads up Virginia Tech’s Sports Media and Analytics program.

“From the NCAA Tournament and the Masters, to the start of baseball season and the Olympics, all sports are being cancelled. It’s the correct decision when it comes to public safety, but unprecedented in our time to be completely halted like this,” said Roth, assessing the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on the sports world.

Roth notes the short-term fiscal issues that could impact colleges and universities, most significantly with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, that could be “devastating” to some NCAA member institutions.

And the long-term health and safety of our athletes might change the sports we play, or how we as fans attend games. I’m sure we will return to some sense of normalcy eventually, but for athletes who miss the Olympics or college students who are graduating, they might not get the chance to participate,” Roth said.

It will probably be a while before we get back to normalcy, though that moment can’t come too soon.

“Perhaps the most therapeutic thing we could have this summer is the sound of the crack of the bat, and roar of the crowd,” Roth said.

Story by Chris Graham